The aim of these Wellbeing Workbooks is to help you learn more about stress and the things you can do to help reduce your stress when you feel very worried or anxious.
What to Expect
There are four workbooks altogether and they should each take around 2 hours to complete
The workbooks should supplement the information you are learning about mental health in your school classes
Each workbook has information, exercises and games to help you learn about wellbeing
The exercises in the workbooks are simply there to aid your learning. You do not have to share any of your answers to the exercises; you can keep them as private as you would like to
If you are feeling really stressed and think you would like to talk to someone about this, there are phone numbers and websites available in the Useful Contacts section
In Session 1 We Looked At:
What stress is
What causes stress
How stress affects you
What keeps stress going
How you can change your lifestyle to make yourself feel less stressed
How you can begin to deal with stress
In Session 2 We Will Look At:
How stress affects our behaviour:
How stress can affect our thought process
How to work on avoidance and under-activity
Things to help when you do too much
Exercise 1: How is life just now?
Using the scale below, how good was life this week?
Now think about what has been happening in your life recently to make you feel this way. Think about the good things and
You can write your thoughts in the notepad below.
How is life just now?
Exercise 2: What makes a good life?
Using the scale below, mark where you think you would need to score in order to feel you have a ‘good life’
How would you know that you had reached a ‘good quality of life’? What would you be doing differently compared to now, if anything?
You can write your thoughts in the notepad below.
What makes a good life?
What maintains stress?
Stress can be caused by lots of things happening in our life all at once. This can make feel like there is too much to deal with at one time.
In the last session, we learned that the best way to deal with a lot of stress is to break the problem down and approach it in chunks. Today we will focus on how to make good changes to our everyday behaviour to deal with stress.
To help you make beneficial changes to how you behave when you are stressed, it would be helpful to look at how you behaved before you were stressed and how you behave now. The next exercise will help you with these questions. Take your time and do each question one at a time.
When you feel relaxed, what do you do?
How do you feel emotionally and physically when you are relaxed?
The word search below shows different situations which we may find hard when we are stressed. Think about how stress has affected you in these activities and what you could do to reduce this effect.
Exercise 4: How does stress affect your behaviour?
Stress affects our behaviour in many aspects of our everyday lives. We may avoid situations which have been stressful or
emotional. We may increase or decrease several behaviours related to the stress we feel.
The list shows some ways in which stress can affect our everyday behaviour. You might experience all or some of the following:
Stop talking to other people
Stop answering the phone
Stop taking part in fun hobbies
Stop looking after yourself e.g. diet or appearance.
Trying to do too many things
Being very concerned with safety
Having arguments with people
Talking more quickly
How does stress affect what you do?
Do you do less – if so, in what way? What have you stopped doing?
Do you avoid situations or activities – if yes, what sort of things do you avoid?
Do you rush around trying to do too much – if yes, how so?
When we are stressed we may avoid stressful situations on purpose.
For example – You haven’t done your homework and are worried about asking for help.
Result – The teacher may become annoyed/disappointed, and could send letters home to parents/guardians
What is avoidance?
Avoidance is a way of reducing our fears by escaping from things / situations that cause us stress.
Why do we do it?
We think we can't cope with a situation / person.
It can make us less stressed for a little while.
But the more we avoid things, the more we can lose confidence in ourselves and our ability to cope in lots of different situations
Physically avoiding particular situations such as a supermarket or dogs
Putting things off
Not doing something outside our comfort zone
Using other to hide behind
Doing things to make yourself feel safe e.g. sitting near the exits in cinemas
Not asking friends to go out in case they say no
What Does Avoidance Mean For You?
Complete the jigsaw below to discover some of the ways that avoidance can affect you.
So we know that stress can make us avoid situations that might make us stressed. But, stress can also affect how much we are able to do. We can do too little (under-activity) or do too much (over-activity).
When people feel stressed they often get tired easily and can’t be bothered doing things they’d normally do. They tend to give up their hobbies and things that used to make them happy
If stress puts you in a bad mood, you might not want to open up to people around you
Being under-active can make you less confident and make you do even less
How does under-activity affect you?
Being under-active can keep your feelings of stress and bad mood going. If you are under-active and in a bad mood for a while, this can sometimes lead to depression
Stress can also make us want to do everything and to do it all the time.
Our behaviour can increase the amount of work we do. This can be a good thing if we have a lot of things to do and places to be, but too much over-activity can make us burn out and become .
Under-activity and over-activity can be seen as ways to avoid situations. For example, by keeping busy we can avoid some emotional issues.
Tackling Avoidance And Underactivity
Try to face the situations you find difficult or plan activities that you have stopped doing one by one
The first time you face a difficult situation, it may take a while for the worry to fade. The next time, it may not be so bad and the worry will fade away the more you do this. Keep going!
The first time you may feel tired or de-motivated when faced with a stressful situation, but your mood will improve if you are able to finish your plan and also acknowledge what steps you have achieved, no matter how small
Each time you face your fears your anxiety won't be as bad, and will drop off more quickly afterwards
Planning ahead of stressful situations can make facing these situations easier, so you start coping better in times of stress
Make a list of things that you have been avoiding or have stopped doing.
Choose which one to do first. List them in order of difficulty and start with which one you will find the easiest to do.
State clearly and specifically what it is you want to do.
Plan the steps to carry out.
Do it and review it.
Let's look at some examples and try it for ourselves. Here are two people, John and Rebecca, who are taking steps to improve avoidance and under activity.
Both John and Rebecca have been under a lot stress recently. As a result:
John had some panic attacks in public places with a lot of people around and is now avoiding busy public places; this is having an impact on his social life
Rebecca has slowly withdrawn from friends and family as her mood and confidence has been low
Step 1: List Things You Have Stopped Doing
Make a list of the things that you've been avoiding or have stopped doing
Step 1 Look back at Exercise 2 which looked at things you might want to change to have a better 'quality of life'. Thinking about activity level – avoiding things; not doing much; doing too much, list the things you want to change here:
Step 2: Choose What To Work On First
Do this by arranging your list in order of difficulty and start with what you find easiest
Which one are you going to tackle first?
Step 2 Choose which one to tackle first. Do this by arranging the list in order of difficulty and start with what you will find the easiest to tackle first:
Step 3: State Clearly What you Are Going To Do
Be specific about what it is you are going to do
Step 3 Decide clearly and specifically what you would like to be able to do. Give details about where, when and how you imagine yourself doing it:
Step 4: Plan These Steps To Carry It Out
Write down the benefits of tackling this
Step 4 Plan the steps to carry this out. Again give specific details; dates, times, exactly what you will do – all the 'when's, 'where's' and 'how's'. Write it here:
Step 5: Try It And Review It
Make a note for how things went – what went well, what didn’t go so well, what you have gained from this experience and any ideas for future practice.
How did you feel and what were you thinking when you were doing the task you set yourself?
What did others do that helped it go well?
How did you feel after you carried out your plan?
Was there anything you would do differently the next time?
Acknowledge each step of your achievements, no matter how small
Planning The Next Steps
Plan and practice the first step in your plan (Step 4) until you can manage this without difficulty, then move onto planning your next goal
In relation to avoidance, do not move onto the next step until you have mastered the first and are no longer experiencing physical symptoms
Make a daily list (use activity diary in handout) to plan the week ahead
Stick to one task at a time and see it through
Make the amount of activity reasonable including time for rest and relaxation
Set aside time for yourself and to do things you enjoy
Remember you are not superhuman
Remember, it will not be easy making changes especially when you are stressed so it is important to try to work on your motivation levels. If you are feeling low or anxious then your motivation will already be low or you will probably be feeling very tired which will also affect your motivation.
Q1: How can stress affect your behaviour?
a. Taking time to relax
b. Reading a book
c. Over-activity – taking on too many things at one time
Q2: Why do we avoid some situations when we are stressed?
a. People have learned through past experiences, thoughts and behaviours to avoid some stressful situations in order to reduce the feeling of stress
b. When people are stressed,they avoid some situations because they are lazy
c. People may avoid some situations when they are stressed because they are too busy
d. Stress can make people sleep all the time and they might sleep through stressful situations
Q3: How does under activity affect you?
a. You are doing too much at one time and this can lead to exhaustion
b. You may stop doing activities you enjoy, which can make you feel bad about yourself, which can in turn make you feel worse
c. You may avoid stressful situations altogether
d. You might find something fun to do in order not to be bored
Q4: Which of the following does not describe over-activity?
a. Doing too much work
b. Not finding time to relax
c. Rushing around
d. Being too exhausted to do anything
Q5: Which of the following is not a helpful way to reduce stress?